Rap Genius didn’t raise $40M

July 14th, 2014

It turns out, it was bigger than that.

I’ve seen a few tweets and heard a few comments this weekend along the lines of “Rap Genius raised $40M? I quit.”

Funny. But pretty far off the mark. Surely you think that while Silicon Valley is willing to be a bit nutty about apps that do little more than say a single word or for potato salad… surely they’d invest their money a little more wisely than you’re currently thinking when you make a comment like that.

Turns out, Rap Genius was simply the test bed for building an incredible platform.

Ben Horowitz on a16z’s blog about this new round and what Rap Genius has done so far:

In doing so, the team at Rap Genius developed two essential assets. First, they created a technology platform that systematically enables a group of scholars to converge on the most correct explanation of a piece of text or video. Next, because people with an interest in rap music tend to be on the cutting edge of culture, Rap Genius fostered a community of cultural experts who have already branched out into important adjacent knowledge areas such as poetry and rock and roll.

Genius.com is now a platform for “annotating the world”. I wonder if that tag line will stick as I think there might be a better way to say it. However, you can think of the term “inside baseball” or when people say “inside joke”. There might be a cultural reference that you simply don’t get. Well, Genius.com may end up becoming the next-generation of Urban Dictionary that includes far more than simply definitions of words and terms.

So, don’t quit. Genius was genius — you just weren’t smart enough to see it.